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The best movies and TV of 2021, picked by NPR critics

Eric Liebowitz/FX; Warner Bros; Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu; Noh Juhan/Netflix; Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures; Niko Tavernise/© 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; A24; Marvel Studios; Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

In 2021, movies tentatively returned to theaters. Television production stopped, and started, and sometimes stopped again. Movies and TV seasons that had been delayed were finally seen, and projects that would once have shown up only on big screens appeared on small ones.

With all that in mind, NPR's critics have rolled our movie and television picks into one big — and grateful — list of the things we most enjoyed watching this year, whether we were in or out of the house, with others or on our own.

Reviews by Eric Deggans, Aisha Harris, Linda Holmes, Bob Mondello and Glen Weldon. Editing and production by Clare Lombardo and Natalie Escobar, with copy editing by Patricia Cole and Preeti Aroon. Photo research by Ashley Pointer, Clare Lombardo and Natalie Escobar. Design and development by Alyson Hurt. contributed to this story

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Aisha Harris is a host of Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.
Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.
Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.
Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.